Though not quite in the same league as my Ernie, my friend Simon Caterson is the first entrant in Lavartus Prodeo’s Agincourt Award for the Longest Bow. The idea is to highlight arguments built on tenuous links, and Simon is entered for managing to jump from a discussion of factual errors in Ishmael Beah‘s book about his time as a child soldier in Sierra Leone to the overwillingness of baby boomers to believe the Samoan research of Margaret Mead.
It is quite a leap, with the thread tying it together being that there are some stories people just want to believe. But the examples of fictional non-fiction given in Simon’s article are too varied to give the article the focus on readers it needed for the Mead case not to appear, at least to a certain kind of vigilant mind, as being there for some other reason. Most of the article is about authors, who range from outright frauds like Norma Khouri, to people like Ishmael Beah who get some details wrong but still have a compelling story, to Margaret Mead who it seems was more the victim of a hoax than a perpetrator.
But none of this is what really caused upset at LP. It was the suspicion that Simon thinks ‘sexual freedom is unnatural and wrong, and you should all stop it now’. And that required a leap in the argument worthy of making LP the second entrant in the Agincourt Award for the Longest Bow. So we go from these remarks by Simon: